(G.N.S) Dt. 26
India have never managed a series win in South Africa, but coach Ravi Shastri is determined to rewrite the history books when the men in blue tour the country next month. “Nothing changes the way we approach any other month. For us all opposition is the same, all oppositions have to be respected and every game is a home match. “And as it turned out that next we are in South Africa. Where South Africa is different is that we haven’t won a series in South Africa. Therein lies a massive opportunity for the team to do something special,” Shastri told a news channel on Monday. “The belief is there. We are going there and we will treat South Africa like we treat any other opposition we have played against. There will be respect but we will go there to win,” he added. Shastri also lashed out at former players who have criticised Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s form and questioned his place in the limited overs squad. Shastri, however, feels that the veteran wicketkeeper-batsman is fitter than players 10 years his junior. “We are not stupid. I have been watching this sport for the last 30-40 years. Virat has been a part of this team for a decade now. We know, at this age, he can beat players aged 26. People who talk forget that they played the game. If they look at themselves in the mirror and ask the question ‘what they were at the age of 36?’, would they have run two runs faster? But the time they finish two, this guy will run three. Then he has won only two World Cups and averages only 51. Till today you don’t have a wicket-keeper to replace him in the one-day team,” the former all-rounder insisted. “He is still one of the best around, not only in the Indian team but the world. Some of the things you see with him are not sold in the market. You will not get it anywhere else. The fact that he does not play Test cricket, means he should be playing as much cricket as possible till the World Cup in 2019,” Shastri added.
(G.N.S) Dt. 26